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Foreclosure Rates are Climbing - Will They Stop?

Posted Monday, April 7, 2008

January 2008 saw another large jump in foreclosure filings. Nationwide, filings for foreclosures jumped 57 percent, causing 45,327 homeowners to lose their homes to bank repossessions. This is yet another indication that our national real estate markets fears are far from over.

Although this increase was only a modest increase from the month previous, the increase demonstrates that despite recent attention paid to reducing the foreclosures, the financial issues in the real estate and mortgage industries are only deepening.

While there are an increasing number of mortgage assistance programs being developed at both the state and federal level, many of these efforts are only giving borrowers the opportunity to pay back their missed payments instead of lowering the monthly payments through interest rates and helping stop foreclosure. In essence, these programs could be a short term fix and ignoring the larger problem of interest rates that are too big for the borrower to afford. Lenders are claiming that they are restructuring their mortgages to offer lower or temporary fixed interest rates to reduce balances to help people save their homes for now.

Florida, California and Nevada had the highest rate of home foreclosures, which was not surprising with their real estate and mortgage industry histories. All three states showed record price increases and saw a large number of homes sold to investors versus primary residence owners. Nevada reported one out of every 167 homes was in a stage of foreclosure in January alone.

California is suffering the largest number of foreclosures with more than 57,000 on file. Florida trailed shortly behind with 30,000 filings of its own. Unfortunately, other states are now also seeing an increase in foreclosures, including:

  • Maryland 430 percent increase in foreclosure filings
  • Virginia 634 percent increase in foreclosure filings
  • Rhode Island 279 percent increase in foreclosure filings
Of course, these three states have relatively low foreclosure filing rates to begin with, but these percentages show a startling trend towards increasing foreclosures in the area. Although Virginia has the highest rate of increase here, their numbers are still a quarter of the foreclosures that are seen in Nevada.

Lending laws and foreclosures are greatly varied from state to state, influencing the foreclosure filings significantly. However, with record filings being issued, many of the influences from non traditional mortgages are starting to show in markets nationwide. Some of these non traditional mortgages include subprime or hybrid adjustable rate mortgages that have mortgage rates that reset much higher often utterly unaffordable rates after two or three years with the lower rates. For this reason, borrowers are caught off guard and will default after just a few months after the rate reset. Interest only loans and option adjustable rate mortgages are also contributing factors to the foreclosure problems.

Although these non-traditional mortgages have all but disappeared from the market now, their effects are still being seen throughout the current real estate marketplace. They will lead to more increases in foreclosure filings in the future. Many say that the effects from these mortgages wont be straightened out until the end of 2009 at the earliest.

If you are in a home selling situation and are close to loosing your home to foreclosure you do have house selling options. Contact your local home buyer or local real estate investor see determine what option is best for you. Local home buyers existing in every major city in the nation and they purchase homes off all sizes, price range and condition.